Proactive Snow Management Systems Control
When planning the landscaping for any new commercial or residential property, architects and specifying engineers anticipate weather events, particularly those with ice or snow. For most typical wintry conditions, proactive automated ice and snow management systems control is available for—but not limited to—
- safe walking or driving surfaces
- Handicap access ramps
- Loading docks
- and free-flowing
- Roof channels
- Outdoor pipes
These systems reduce or even eliminate the need for reactive management technologies like salt and chemicals, shoveling or plowing—any of which could harm trafficked surfaces, other landscaping and perhaps the environment. Reactive strategies can increase the opportunities for collateral property damage and the associated repair or replacement costs, thereby decreasing the longevity of any capital improvement investment.
Typically, ice and snow management systems use radiant heat technology. These systems may be zoned to specific locations for greater efficiencies in operations and costs. They are typically found as: electric, using electron resistance to generate heat; hydronic, the ancient heat-transfer medium using water or some other liquid (think: apartment steam radiators); or infrared radiant (IR) gas systems.
And while other radiant systems are not inherently better or less optimal, electric radiant heat has advantages for incorporation and operational efficiencies anywhere electricity is found, regardless of longitude, latitude or altitude.
It’s simple, really. A system consists of
1) the heating element (for example, cable);
2) the connection to a power source; and
3) the technology for snow management systems control in between.
And what good is a system if it can’t be controlled?
ETI = Control Savvy
This is where Environmental Technology Inc . can help: we make controls to manage proactive automated ice and snow management systems. A trusted market leader since 1968, ETI also designs, develops and manufactures moisture and temperature sensors, giving our controls added intelligence. While some of these controls are intended for industrial environments, such as the APS-4C, or to interface several applications, like the EUR-5A, ETI has technology for modest applications as well.
A Modest “Pro”
Even medium-sized deicing or snow management systems—consider resistive loads of 200–277 VAC, 30 Amp maximum—need control. Whether for commercial or residential locations, ETI’s Snow Switch® Model GF Pro control electronically manages radiant heat systems for these smaller applications. It operates between –31° and +130°F (–35° to +55°C), broad enough for typical weather event management.
It has a footprint about the size of a half-sheet of paper and weighs only three pounds. Its built-in 30mA GFEP ground fault equipment protection minimizes false or nuisance tripping using ETI’s proprietary digital filter and performs an automatic self-test every 24 hours.
The GF Pro features automatic and manual-override operator controls, with a hold-on timer of up of to 8 hours, to be certain snow melt management systems leave surfaces completely clear and dry.
The GF Pro networks with standard Environmental Technology snow and ice detection sensors (sold separately). As the industry’s most versatile sensor, ETI’s CIT-1 Aerial Snow Sensor detects falling or blowing snow. The CIT-1 can be partnered with a GIT-1 Gutter Ice Sensor for gutter applications or an SIT-6E Pavement-Mounted Snow and Ice Sensor for GF Pro-suited paved surface applications.
Occasionally, a weather pattern creates a unique situation where ice and snow management systems might require remote, manual operation, either to decrease or increase the hold-on time for complete snow melting and water evaporation. While the GF Pro is likely installed in a panel cabinet with building and mechanical equipment, the optional RCU-4 remote control unit adds convenience and economy to remotely control the system at a lowered operating cost.
What Is Your Application?
There are as many applications as there are landscaping designs, so it’s impossible to address those in a single blog. Contact ETI to discuss your specific application for the Snow Switch® Model GF Pro.